Referring to an alleged threat given by Shiv Sena spokesperson Sanjay Raut to actor Kangana Ranaut in an interview, the Bombay High Court on Tuesday asked if this was the way a parliamentarian should react.
Raut has been made a respondent to the petition filed by Ranaut against the demolition carried out at her bungalow here by the Shiv Sena-controlled Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) on September 9. "Even we don't agree with a word of what the petitioner (Ranaut) has said. But is this the way to address?" the court said.
"We are also Maharashtrians. We are all proud Maharashtrians. But we don't go and break someone's house. Is this the way to react? Don't you have any grace?" asked a division bench of Justices S J Kathawalla and R I Chagla.
The high court, which stayed the demolition, is now conducting a final hearing on the actor's petition which has sought damages of Rs 2 crore for the `illegal' action.
Earlier during the hearing on Tuesday, Raut submitted an affidavit where he denied that he had threatened Ranaut. While he had made a reference to Ranaut, it "wasn't in the way that the petitioner had alleged", it said.
At this the court said that at least Raut accepted that he had been talking about Ranaut in the interview, as at an earlier hearing, his lawyer had denied that Raut had made any reference to her at all.
In an interview to a newschannel, Raut had allegedly used an objectionable word while referring to the actor, and further said "What is law? Ukhad denge (we will demolish it)".
"You are a parliamentarian. You have no respect for the law? You ask what is law?" the bench said. Raut's lawyer conceded that the Rajya Sabha member should have been more responsible.
"He should not have said that. But there was no threatening message. He only said that the petitioner is very dishonest....That was a remark made after the petitioner said that Maharashtra is not safe," she said.
The BMC's `H' ward officer Bhagyawant Late, also made a respondent to the case, stated that Ranaut's allegations of malice against him and the BMC were an attempt to divert the attention from the illegal construction at her Pali Hill bungalow.
Senior counsel Anil Sakhre, who appeared for Late, said the officer was only performing his statutory duty in carrying out the demolition.
But the court asked what the BMC was doing when the alleged illegal construction going on. "Why did you wait to take any action until September 5 or September 7? You had turned a blind eye to it," the bench said.
Ranaut's counsel Dr Birendra Saraf reiterated that the actor had not constructed anything illegally, and even if there were some irregularities, those could have been regularised by the civic body.
Saraf had alleged earlier that the BMC carried out the demolition out of malice and vendetta after Ranaut made some comments against the Mumbai police that irked the Shiv Sena- led government in Maharashtra.
The court adjourned the hearing to October 5.